Improving the range and efficiency of Electric Vehicles (EVs) is one of the greatest challenges facing our society in striving to make clean, affordable energy for all. Which is why DSM and high-tech mobility innovator Lightyear have teamed up to form a groundbreaking partnership to bring state-of-the-art solar roofs to the market.
The collaboration started with the innovative Lightyear One long-range solar vehicle from Lightyear - which is set to be one of the world’s most sustainable cars when it launches in 2021 – with a potential range of 725km.
The driving force behind Lightyear One is a novel and stylish Vehicle Integrated Photovoltaic (VIPV) solar roof which captures solar energy using high power solar back-contact cell technology - and then feeds it to the vehicle’s battery. As a result, it’s possible to save precious battery life – thus extending the vehicle’s range and reducing dependency on electric charging stations.
In solar-optimized vehicles like Lightyear One, the solar roof can already meet the energy requirements of the average driver in certain (sunny) parts of the world. Lightyear’s solar roof can also be applied to other vehicles to charge the battery and thus enable them to drive further; or to power their auxiliary systems.
DSM’s Conductive backsheet is an integral element of the solar roof. This novel backsheet enables all the connections between the solar cells on a PV panel to be put on the back of the module - thus making every available centimeter on the front of the module available for capturing sunlight. The reduction in electrical (cell-to-module) losses not only delivers a 3% increase in power output; but for EVs it has the added advantage of contributing to a more stylish solar roof and hood with aesthetic appeal.
Having collaborated for Lightyear One’s solar roof our two companies began wondering about its potential for all kinds of EVs. Hence, in 2020 we signed a joint development agreement to explore the enormous potential of this innovative application - including market assessment, product piloting and business case development.
Currently, Lightyear’s solar roof consists of five square-meters of integrated solar cells protected by double-curved and super-strong safety glass on the roof and hood of the vehicle. This in turn captures sunlight continually (whether the car is moving or stationary) and then transfers it through an integrated electrical vehicle system to the vehicle’s drive and power auxiliary systems.
Lightyear has stated that it wants to revolutionize transport with its innovative technology – and we want to join them in the realization of their vision, with our decade-plus of solar expertise and ‘lossless’ backsheet know-how. After all, we’ve seen solar panels placed in farms; then on commercial buildings and residential homes. So why not electric cars, buses and trucks?
When it comes to creating vehicles capable of running entirely on clean energy…the solar innovation race is well and truly on.
And discover how we can help you boost solar power.